Minister Barbara Creecy Leads South Africa’s Delegation during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) CoP 25 in Spain

08 December 2019


“The Madrid Climate Change Conference comes at a pivotal moment where the science is sending a clear message that we face a climate emergency and that everybody needs to act with a renewed sense of urgency. South Africa is fully committed to contributing to the success of the Conference, in support of the United Nations Secretary-General and Chile as the Conference Presidency”, says the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy.

Minister Creecy is leading South Africa’s delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s Madrid Climate Change Conference, which takes place from 2 to 13 December. The Minister recently assumed the Presidency of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and, in this capacity, has a mandate to advance Africa’s shared priorities.

For Africa and all its Member States, the impacts of Climate Change are real and most felt by the poor and vulnerable groups in society. Over the past year, every sub-region of Africa has experienced weather events that have caused considerable loss of life and destruction.

In South Africa, we are experiencing unprecedented increases in the frequency and intensity of heat-waves, bush fires and droughts, which are placing a tremendous burden on our already water-stressed country. There have also been particularly violent storms and floods. Science tells us that the worst is yet to come.

Given this reality, it is imperative for South Africa to contribute to securing a robust multilateral response to climate change. This response has to assist African and other developing countries to adapt and to respond to the associated loss and damage.  Developing countries must secure the finance, technology and other support they require to combat climate change and to transition their economies to more sustainable development pathways.

At the Madrid Climate Change Conference the priority task is to finalise the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement, which becomes fully operational in 2020. This includes in particular, reaching agreement on a market mechanism to replace the current Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. Market mechanisms need to incentivize climate action to achieve the global goal of the Paris Agreement.

The new market must benefit Africa and help finance our adaptation efforts. Africa also requires the Madrid Conference to recognize the special needs and circumstances of African countries and to advance work towards achieving the Paris Agreement’s global goal on adaptation, review the work of the Warsaw Mechanism on Loss and Damage and the Gender Action Plan.

Participants are discussing important new scientific work of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Oceans and Land and assessing the implications of the landmark Special Report on a global warming of 1,5 degrees.  South Africa believes that the science is non-negotiable and needs to inform our actions and policies.

The climate change talks, under the presidency of the Government of Chile with logistical support from the Government of Spain, are being attended by approximately 30 000 participants. Participants are drawn from government, sub-tiers of government, parliamentarians, inter-governmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society and business. “The mass mobilization of citizens around the world, in particular the youth, has sent a clear message that we must end incremental and piecemeal measures. We need transformative action now at a global level to safeguard the rights of current and future generations,” said Minister Creecy

South Africa, in partnership with the National Business Initiative (NBI), is hosting a South African exhibition pavilion at the climate change talks. A number of dialogues and side events will be hosted at the Pavilion to showcase the work being done by South Africa to raise awareness, adapt to, and mitigate, climate change.

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